World Vision helps Congress draft its election manifesto – Akshay Narang

World Vision-Congress

It is shameful that the Congress party is taking inputs for drafting its manifesto from World Vision, a Christian church ministry which is involved in evangelism and proselytisation in India. – Akshay Narang

It has come to light that World Vision, an evangelical Christian organisation, has given inputs to the Indian National Congress in connection with its manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Wada na Todo Abhiyan tweeted from its handle“@wadanatodo along with @stc_india, @WVIndia, @9isM9 and National Coalition for Eradication of #BondedLabour and #HumanTrafficking held an interface with the #manifesto committee of the @INCIndia and presented our manifestos.” Therefore, it is clear that World Vision is helping the Congress draft its manifesto.

It is important to note that S. K. Shashikumar, a noted investigative journalist has given certain interesting insights in an article authored in 2010 about the said organisation. World Vision carries out its community development programmes through Area Development Programmes (ADP). In India, World Vision describes itself as a, “Christian relief and development agency with more than 40 years experience in working with the poorest of the poor in India without respect to race, region, religion, gender or caste.” As per Shashikumar, Tehelka had in its possession a US-based document, i.e. World Vision’s financial statement filed before the Internal Revenue Service whereby World Vision is classified as a Christian church ministry. The mission statement of World Vision reads, “World Vision is an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in working with the poor and oppressed, to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the Good News of the Kingdom of God.”

As per Shashikumar, World Vision enjoys a consultative status with UNESCO and partnership with supranational agencies such as UNICEF, WHO, etc. However, its financial records suggest that World Vision has funded evangelical activities across the globe including India. The investigative journalist gives an account of World Vision New Zealand’s report dated September 4, 2002 on the funding of an ADP in Dahod, Gujarat. It states, “Held a vacation Bible school for 150 children from different villages. The children participated in games, Bible quizzes, drama and other activities. Organised a one-day spiritual retreat for 40 young people and a children’s Christmas party. Each of Dahod’s 45 villages chose five needy children to attend the party. (sic)”

In this article, Shashikumar has even claimed that while none of the literature published by World Vision mentions evangelical missions but its foreign publications proudly proclaim its “spiritual” component. He has also claimed that proselytisation is an integral part of its ADP programmes.

It is therefore shameful that the Congress is taking inputs for drafting its manifesto from such an organisation which is widely to be involved in evangelism and proselytisation. This once again exposes the divisive brand of politics which is central to the Congress. The grand old party has realised that it does not have much to offer to the electorate in terms of statesmanship and good governance. Having realised that the Rahul Gandhi led party is desperately trying to gain publicity by indulging in minority appeasement and vote bank politics.

On one hand, the Congress claims to be the hallmark of secularism and on the other hand, it is taking the help of an evangelical organisation in drafting its manifesto. This squarely exposes the lies and the double standards of the INC. –, 20 February 2019

» Akshay Narang is a political analyst and amateur historian.